Archive for November, 2013

‘12 Bars of Christmas’ returns

By
November 27th, 2013



The author, fifth from left, with the Better Brands (now Young's Market Co. of Hawaii) crew at 2010's "12 Bars of Christmas" pub crawl. (Star-Advertiser File)

The author, fourth from right, with the Better Brands (now Young's Market Co. of Hawaii) crew in Chinatown during 2010's "12 Bars of Christmas" pub crawl. (Star-Advertiser File)

It’s been a fantastic couple of weeks in my world, surrounded by do-gooders putting others before themselves. Whether it’s a tragic loss of life (i.e. flood victims, children with cancer) or mentoring youth, you really can tell when someone invests their entire heart in it — and that warms me up from the inside out.

Party Monster (for a good cause) Mark Becker (Christa Wittmier)

Party Monster (for a good cause) Mark Becker. (Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

My friends at the Modern Honolulu have a stand-up couple of resident DJs. DJ Anit and Compose used their natural talents to inspire others into giving back last week, raising almost $10,000 for Typhoon Haiyan survivors from two events with a very small amount of preparation.

And they're not the only ones; the list is long of everyone who dropped what they were doing to coordinate relief efforts the best way they knew how. It’s very admirable, so I just want to say thank you to Jazz Minds, M Nightclub, The Republik and Safehouse, Chef Chai and many others. Fellow Pulse blogger Jermel Quillopo did a great job rounding everything up last week, so check out her blog if you are looking for ways to support.

Switching gears (rather quickly) this week to ramp up for the holiday season (which is pretty much almost over), it’s good to see Mark Becker is back at it with his “12 Bars of Christmas” fundraiser on Dec. 14. After a hiatus last year, he has once again corralled an A-list of Chinatown bars and sponsors to create a pub crawl for charity. The party will continue at NextDoor from 11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., with an official afterparty at M Nightclub. Tickets are $20 in advance; $25 at the door. This year's beneficiaries are the Hawaii Children Cancer Foundation and the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific.

I am thankful for.... Lauren King (Courtesy Nalanie Chintamoni)

I am thankful for... Lauren King. (Courtesy Nalanie Chintamoni)

This weekend will be a nice, long one and there’s so much to be thankful for! Personally, I’m ecstatic to see one of the scene’s angels return home.

Lauren King, one of my favorite bottle service girls at Vice Nightclub and an extraordinarily sweet “It Girl”-slash-Tubmlr goddess who jumped the pond to be part of the opening team at Hakkasan Las Vegas. She now works in VIP bottle service at Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub in Sin City. Within a matter of weeks after she moved, she made hundreds cheer virtually with Vine posts shot two feet away from Calvin Harris’ daytime sets.

We met, funny enough, over the smartphone game “Draw Something,” and before I even knew her in person I had a huge straight-girl crush on her. There’s just something about a perfect 10 supermodel and new 21-year-old who makes time to draw things for a 30-something she never met. I’m sorry. I’m obsessed.

While she mostly has plans to catch up with friends and family before going back to work in Vegas on Friday, Nov. 29, I wish she could stick around to make an appearance at the “JUMP UP!” at Nextdoor on Saturday, Nov. 30. This under-the-radar-but-not-really party is known for a great looking crowd of college kids who understand and appreciate a wide variety of music and a fun, unpretentious vibe in Chinatown.

This month’s live bands include legendary rockers Linus, who blew us all away in the streets at Hallowbaloo and DJs Zilla and Eric & Farley. Only venture to this party if you want to dance and have fun. There are plenty of other options if you want to stand around awkwardly and silently judge each other. The choice is yours.

———

Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young's Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for POW! WOW! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular "Bacardi Pool Party" on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

Music's infinite landscape

By
November 20th, 2013



When you think about it, there really is no shortage of quality concerts in Honolulu.

Sure, we don’t get as many artists bringing their tours through here and I will probably be a grandma by the time a fully-laced, legit music festival (a la Bonnaroo or Coachella) is ever built back up — at Kualoa? Please? — but it’s not as dead as some of you think.

lunice1

Red Bull Music Academy Club Tour

Featuring Lunice, Rocky Fresh and B. Bravo

» Where: NextDoor, 43 N. Hotel St.

» When: 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23

» Cost: $15 (discounted presale tickets available online); 18+

» Info: honolulupulse.com/rbma

Dead would be no shows, and we are far from that scenario. No way.

Not with Spells. Not with BAMP. Not with Foundation/AYA, Double-O-Spot, Jett Setter, Odin Works, Asylum Confidential, M Nightlife and Element Group, all of whom are almost always working on finalizing a deal with an artist, or are currently hosting an artist, or planning for the next artist they want to bring out.

Just clicking on the events link on my Facebook, I’m inundated with visiting acts. Most I haven’t heard of, but a lot I still decide to check out just for the sake of them being here. I am hardly ever disappointed.

If there ever happens to be a lull, the local scene is just as powerful, whether or not it’s widely known. There had to be at least four people who hadn’t heard of Pink Mist before "Honolulu Night Market" last weekend in Kaka'ako. They were like, “Wow, who is this! They are really good!”

It is always fun being around others experiencing something awesome for the first time. It’s a killer vibe to share. I was pretty excited to tell all of them there are free shows at Chinatown's Mercury Bar just about every week with these guys and tons of other acts ranging from rock to reggae to hip-hop.

I was thinking about all of this because there is a show coming that a lot of people might not have heard about, and it’s one of those you'll be so happy you discovered!

Lunice (pictured above) is a Canadian rapper, DJ and producer who is one half of trappy hip-hop electronic duo TNGHT. Known for stealing the show with his abundant energy while touring with Diplo and Chiddy Bang in 2012, also helped produce “Blood on the Leaves” for Kanye West.

TNGHT performing at Red Bull Music Academy presents SonarDome at Sonar Festival in Barcelona, Spain, June  (Courtesy of Pere Masramon)

TNGHT performing in Barcelona, Spain. (Courtesy Pere Masramon)

Lunice is currently on tour with Chicago rapper Rockie Fresh and San Francisco funk DJ B. Bravo. While these are two names you may not have heard just yet, they are artists who won’t be forgotten after Saturday, Nov. 23.

Fresh and Bravo are both graduates of the musically progressive Red Bull Music Academy in London, where they were among just 60 participants involved in intensive workshops and seminars with names like Mark Ronson, Modeselektor and Mala in 2010. They have been exposed to and worked with many independent record labels and artists, which is evident in their music selection and style.

Currently signed to Rick Ross's Maybach Music Group, Rockie Fresh falls in the category of hip-hop. Dreamy beats with his sluggish, yet strong and sometimes anthem-y lyrics propel the 22-year-old up the ranks of hip-hop's heavy hitters.

Streaming RBMARadio's playlists with never-ending options including DFA Records, Not Not Fun, Stones Throw and the Boiler Room collaboration is usually how I am able to get through my work days. While some people still thumb through Pandora or Spotify, the Red Bull Music Academy is shaping the way the rest of us will listen to and discover new music. Even local producer Higher Concept (who is just about impossible to impress) was impressed with a double-CD the academy put out.

“I noticed that the game is getting real redundant,” Lunice told MTV in a recent interview. “A lot of people are doing the same thing and the fans are a lot less interested. So with that I really wanted to take it upon myself to get some fly music back to the culture that’s a little bit different.”

There is no shortage of good shows or good music. We just need to have our eyes and ears open to it.

———

Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young's Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for POW! WOW! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular "Bacardi Pool Party" on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

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No shame for singles

By
November 13th, 2013



“Remember how I was saying there are no guys? I met a guy.”

That was Kyra Sedgwick’s character, Linda Powell in 1992's "Singles," delivering hope to all of us — just way too soon in this particular film, as we see a few scenes later when the guy turns out to be a dud.

I wonder how many people reading this blog are single. I wonder how many have trouble dating.

It’s hard to talk about stuff like this in the open because it’s kind of embarrassing, right? You aren’t good enough to find your mate. You aren’t pretty enough to get the attention of a partner. The dating pool is extremely limited. There are no guys. The girls are all crazy.

It’s not the same to hear how great of a catch you are from family or friends. They aren't the people running in the opposite direction when you make your best effort to put yourself out there.

The person who cracks the code on love and dating will have pretty much solved humanity, so I’m not really waiting around for that to happen. I'm already pretty cognizant of my own shortcomings: I come on too strong, I’m a six in a city of 10s, I’m too busy to make time for a partner, I know too many people (which I’ve heard from my male friends is not a good thing for a potential girlfriend), I have too many platonic husbands, etc.

Scanning my immediate area for potential dates, mates, or more: Tinder

Scanning my immediate area for potential dates, mates, or more on Tinder. (Courtesy photo)

I know all this. That’s me. There’s got to be a way to be me and still mate. Enter Tinder.

On a recent trip to Portland, I heard about this smartphone app that's taking the mainland by storm and was both horrified and extremely curious. It was described to me as “Grindr for straight people.”

Grindr, as most people know, is a no-holds-barred hook-up app that is location-based. You open the app, see who is around you, send flirty messages and pictures, then meet for sex. It’s so cut-and-dry I often found myself whining to my Grindr-using friends that straight people needed to have something too.

Turns out we do, and we may — or may not — understand the power now in our hands.

The app? It’s too easy. Just when I was thinking there are no guys who find me attractive and I might as well move to another city if I’m trying to find love or start a family — that all washed away after “liking” a few people who were actually my age and interested in me, too. It immediately unlocks a dialog ability (that looks like you're texting so you can communicate on the go without being embarrassed) and bam, there’s your potential mate. Or date. Or… well, you get it.

Now I am looking at a list of guys who could all potentially be a match. Waiting to start the dialog. Waiting to meet up with me. Now the ball is back in my court.

Instead of grousing about how love and dating and human interaction as a whole has changed for the worse in this decade, I am totally fine with evolving along with it and trying this method out. Lord knows I’ve scared off tons of potential mates trying the old-fashioned way.

After years of being single and way too much feedback on the topic (“There’s nothing wrong with you, it’s this city,” “You really need to go to another city to find love and just bring them back”), I'm taking a stand. I now have a phone full of interested men.

The only problem is, now I'm hesitant to take the next step. Being single, like smoking, isn’t so easy to quit. You have to want to quit.

Hey, at least we know now there are options!

———

Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young's Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for POW! WOW! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular "Bacardi Pool Party" on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

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It’s a Tsutakawa!

By
November 6th, 2013



Zana Tsutakawa, right, with artist David Choe at NextDoor in 2006. (Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

Zana Tsutakawa, right, with artist David Choe at NextDoor in 2006. (Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

It was so awesome last week to get an e-mail from Kizamu Tsutakawa. It's been years since I heard that name – the little brother of one of my closest friends in Hawaii, Zana Tsutakawa.

There was a time about nine years ago when there was nothing I didn’t do without Zana. If I wasn’t at my house, I was at hers watching her cook (always chop the onion first, no matter what you’re going to make) or watching her roommate, Joseph Paahana, draw. There was a warming spirit that enveloped me in their Kaimuki home that filled the void of living here without a family, and I found myself over there more than anywhere else.

When I first started getting wrapped up in going out, she was right there with me and totally rocked it. A clothing designer originally from Seattle, we made a quick but long-lasting close connection.

Zana and Tui at 808 Skate in Kailua last week. (Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

Zana and Tui at 808 Skate in Kailua last week. (Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

We shared similar backgrounds, each of us growing up in the Pacific Northwest and raised by creative parents. We both found ourselves in Hawaii not wanting to leave and doing whatever it took to make a life here.

Zana has an effortless style and is truly unique and impossible to emulate — even though I tried many times. All the promoters loved her back then.

Zana ended up getting married to 808 Skate founder and filmmaker Chuck Mitsui in 2010 and together they work in Kailua and live in Ka‘a‘awa. It might be a bit more of a drive than Kaimuki, but at least I still get to see them.

Last week I had a golf tournament at Mid-Pac Country Club, so I got to have lunch with them and see their new son, Tui Takehiko Mitsui, aka The Most Beautiful Baby Boy in the World.

Zana's little brother, a soccer coach in Seattle, is also the manager of west coast reggae band Kore Ionz and is bringing them back to Hawaii for a show at NextDoor this weekend. I can’t wait to see him. I bet he’s a hundred feet taller now.

KORE IONZ

» Where: NextDoor, 43 N. Hotel St.

» When: 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8

» Cost: $10; 18+

» Info: www.koreionz.com

Kore Ionz front man Daniel Pak is an ‘Iolani grad with a nuclear engineering background who has taken his rich love for music and social responsibility and parlayed that into a seasoned and very diverse roots and reggae band. Just as The Green is warmly welcomed in Seattle, Hawaii will no doubt love their infectious energy when performing on stage.

The seven-member band has been together for more than five years and devotes their spare time to teach and enrich children. The band also donates much of their proceeds from shows to nonprofits that support youth programs.

It will be a welcome break from a world of chaos to enjoy these guys on stage this Friday and to share their passion for positivity.

———

Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young's Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for POW! WOW! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular "Bacardi Pool Party" on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

Posted in SA | No Comments »

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